The Grow Project is a charitable organisation run by people who know what it is like to struggle with wellbeing challenges.
The management team is made up of previous project members and relevant professionals who support the director Jo.
Jo Wren, Director and course leader
I've always loved the countryside and nature and known instinctively how good it is for my own wellbeing. I'm never happier than when tramping through the woods, climbing hills or out on the water. I’m extremely lucky that my work with Grow gives me the chance to do these on a regular basis and I’m constantly inspired by the people who come to Grow and the challenges they overcome.
With 15 years of group facilitation, managing projects and working with people in the charity sector, this project uses all of my skills in a wonderfully holistic way and adds to them on a daily basis –from writing funding bids to whittling and everything in between!
I live in Hove and find joy in singing, nature photography, sailing and good friends.
Julie Wright, Co-Founder and Chair
Being out in nature & around animals lights up my life. I know it's essential for my emotional & physical wellbeing. And my passion for the therapeutic benefits of nature connection led me to set up The Grow Project.
I have over 15 years experience of group facilitation, mindfulness & nature-connection practice, gained in a wide variety of settings. Plus training in eco-psychology, counselling and 3D art & design. Other sources of inspiration are Buddhist philosophy, the Findhorn Foundation and Way of Council. As well as the wisdom of dogs!
Once upon a time I was a photographer living the high-life in London, but that started feeling hollow & so did I. A career in wellbeing & nature connection beckoned & I've never looked back. I feel very fortunate to do this inspiring work.
Matt Adams, Trustee
I am a Principal Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Brighton. I am lucky enough to be able to teach and undertake research on the psychology of human-nature connections and human engagement with environmental issues. Many moons ago now I got involved with Grow, helping them to evaluate their project in terms of the benefits it offered people in terms of physical and mental health. We produced reports, academic papers, even an animation, to get the message across that Grow was groundbreaking - and still is. I was (and still am) amazed by the dedication of the Grow team, and the way participants engage with being outdoors, often with transformative results.
Yok Chang, Trustee
Hi , my name is Yok . A friend sent me details of GROW in 2016 saying I would enjoy the course and benefit from it like they had . So true ! I was on season 16 and found those weeks at Saddlescombe farm and surrounding countryside immensely restorative. I had decided to take early retirement from my busy ,stressful life as a GP recognising that my work -life balance was unhealthy for me .
The photo shows me taking a walk by the sea in Kingston Gorse. GROW gently reminded me how wonderful Nature is and connecting with that universal energy nourishes.
Chaun Wilson- Trustee
Despite over 20 years working in the voluntary sector managing support services I’d never really considered one day I might need some help myself. That was until 2018 when a traumatic life event led to me being diagnosed with anxiety, depression and PTSD. Life suddenly became very tough and I was really struggling.
I’ve never really believed in coincidence, and think everything, good and bad happens for a reason, so when I came across Grow, I realized what it was offering was significant and filled in the application immediately. I feel really fortunate to have been accepted for season 21 (Jo can you check), it really was a life changing experience. I recognised the minute I arrived at Saddlescombe just how unbalanced my life was and that I’d not just forgotten how much I love nature but that I’d become completely disengaged. Grow offered a much needed awakening and so many gifts which included not only human connections but a rediscovering of the joy of walking in silence listening to the birds, of cooking sausages over an open fire in the rain, of group meditations at the top of Devils Dyke, of green woodwork and of sheep herding!!!
Thanks to Grow I know for certain that engaging with nature and the world around us really is the best medicine of all and that my health and wellbeing has improved significantly as a result of spending time outdoors.